What if the “A” in PAP test stood for “Abnormal”?
Local health professionals urge women of the Restigouche area to get a Pap test
Campbellton, October 8, 2015 – As part of the National Pap Test Campaign being held during National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week (October 19-23, 2015), the Campbellton Regional Hospital and the Dalhousie St. Joseph Community Health Centre are pleased to invite all women in the area to take advantage of the Women’s Wellness clinics offered in our communities and get a Pap test.
- Campbellton Regional Hospital
- Dalhousie St. Joseph Community Health Centre
Just because a woman feels normal does not mean everything is normal
The Pap test is an excellent way for women to prevent cervical cancer. It is the only way to detect abnormal cells in the cervix which, if left untreated, could develop into cancer. Each year in Canada, 400,000 women receive an abnormal Pap test result, 1,300 to 1,500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and almost 400 women die of this disease. The good news is that since 1996, the incidence of cervical cancer has declined and, since 1995, mortality rates have also decreased. The main reasons for these reductions are improved knowledge, the widespread regular use of Pap test screening, and the availability of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination.
According to the New Brunswick Health Council (Ref.: Population Health Snapshot 2014-2015), 70.7% of women in the Restigouche area (between 18 and 69 years old) had a Pap test within the past three years, compared to the provincial average of 73.5%. According to provincial clinical guidelines, cervical cancer screening should begin at age 21 or three years after the first sexual contact, whichever occurs FIRST. For women under 21 years of age, interactions with health care providers are still required for STI (sexually transmitted infection) screening and HPV vaccination. Annual screening should continue until three consecutive negative Pap test results are obtained, and every two to three years afterwards.
Screening can be discontinued after 69 years of age in women with an adequate history of negative results in the previous 10 years. Screening can be discontinued in women who have undergone total hysterectomy for benign reasons and have no history of cervical dysplasia or HPV.
This is one test you do not want to get an “A” on
While a normal Pap test result means that no abnormal cells were found, this is not the case for an abnormal test result. It means that there may be irregular cells on the cervix and further testing is required to learn more about them.
It is easy for women to make an appointment
At any time of the year, women in the Restigouche area may call themselves to make an appointment for a Pap test:
- Campbellton Regional Hospital: 506-789-5050
- Dalhousie St. Joseph Community Health Centre: 506-684-7300